Head Lines

Thursday, January 23, 2020

This past week our beloved school released The Strategic Plan for Trinity College School 2020-2025. The plan contains three pillars, six goals and is estimated to result in more than 150 tactical initiatives over the next five years. That’s a lot of numbers, a lot of words, and a lot of well-intentioned planned actions. You can read all about it at: www.tcs.on.ca/strategicplan.

That said, given you might not find the time to read the entire plan, let me offer you the following summary, in a nutshell.

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

The cost of educating our kids keeps rising. This is true whether your child is attending an independent school, college or university. How do families cover the costs? One thing is for certain: the stereotype of TCS being filled exclusively with kids from affluent families is a thing of the past.

I was recently reading an article in the winter 2020 edition of Independent School, a U.S. publication produced by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). In the article, NAIS Vice President, Mark J. Mitchell, sheds some light on how families who have chosen an independent school are able to afford to do so. A NAIS online survey (“The Parents’ Financial Statement,” 2018-2019; 1,891 respondents) provides Mitchell with some data that offers insight into the choices parents are making in order to fund their child’s independent school education. I share some of these key findings below:

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Wednesday, January 08, 2020

The start of a new calendar year, for many, offers an opportunity to reflect on the past and to look ahead to the future. However, it depends on your perspective. For those of us in education, the start of the academic year, or September 1st, feels more like the start of a new year. For those on the lunar calendar, like our many Chinese families and friends, January 25, 2020 is the start of a “new beginning.”

Of course, other days in our lives can also represent a fresh, new chapter. Obviously, birthdays ("Sweet 16") and anniversaries ("50th Golden Anniversary") come to mind. But, sometimes a certain year can imply that change is looming. As a kid in elementary school, thanks to George Orwell, I feared the year 1984. And, how about the year 2000 when we thought the world as we knew it might change because of a previously unforeseen computer glitch!

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Why do we not say nice things, more often, to the people we care about? Or compliment our neighbours and colleagues more frequently? To take it to the extreme, why do we wait for the funeral or obituary to put our thoughts to paper or allow ourselves to be emotional about how much somebody meant to us?

If you feel you have to wait for the “right” time, or a better time, might I insist that you use this upcoming holiday time to your advantage?

Make a point of telling your kids, your spouse, your family and friends how fortunate you are to have them in your life. Then, go one step further and tell them why.

You will not regret it. And the recipient of your thoughts will feel better having heard them.

You have nothing to lose.

And with that thought in mind, let me convey to all our TCS families that I am most grateful for your confidence and trust in Trinity College School. My life is richer and more enjoyable knowing you and your children.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Okay, I’m just going to go ahead and say it: kids are nicer these days. On the whole, I feel that young people today are kinder, more respectful, thoughtful and considerate. At least that is my experience when I reflect upon my youth.

I mean no disrespect to previous generations of teachers, parents and kids. And, perhaps, I am only reflecting upon my own elementary and high school experience – and my own behaviours. But, in this “dog-eat-dog” world, with a seemingly ever-growing culture of competition, I do believe adolescents value “care” more today.

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Thursday, December 05, 2019

We know teenagers make mistakes associated with risk-taking and experimentation. And we recognize that the transition to independence and adulthood has officially started around a young person’s 16th birthday.  We also appreciate that teens are not “bad” people for trying and testing substances, adults, or the rules.  Why, then, is the School so punitive when it comes to smoking and vaping?

Let me explain.

First and foremost, in spite of what you may have heard to the contrary, the smoking of tobacco and marijuana, and the vaping of nicotine, are illegal in the province of Ontario for anyone under the age of 19.  

Second, our school’s mission is based upon the development of good habits of the heart and mind, not bad habits, particularly ones that are known to be unhealthy!

There is a third reason.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

I, along with Doug Mann, TCS’s executive director of philanthropy and alumni, have just finished a thoroughly interesting and eventful week visiting prospective and current TCS families in Shanghai and Nanjing, China.

For many parents in Canada, it is hard to imagine the sacrifice required in having their child, at the age of 14, attend a school in a country on the opposite side of the globe. In the space of this short blog, let’s try to understand and appreciate the tremendous efforts and commitment made by international families toward the important goal of offering their children the best educational experience possible.

In order to better comprehend the magnitude of such a decision, let’s turn the table for a moment.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

While we all have opinions about the seemingly perpetual political turmoil in the United States, one thing has been a constant over the past half century: the U.S. has been a world leader in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Here is an interesting, counterintuitive statistic, given the above fact, about our friends to the south: American students perennially rank poorly on international tests in mathematics, reading and science. According to a Washington Post article, an “international test, conducted in 2012, found that among the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States ranked 27th in math, 20th in science and 17th in reading.” (“Why America’s Obsession with STEM education is dangerous,” by Fareed Zakaria, March 26, 2015)

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

These days, if you change jobs every three to five years, you seem to be considered “the norm.” Actually, the average job tenure in Canada in 2018 (according to Statista.com) was 102 months, or 8½ years. However, I’m not sure the adults who make up the TCS staff reflect these statistics!

Last week, we recognized six staff members at our annual Toronto Branch Dinner, held at the Royal Canadian Military Institute, with honorary alumni ties and scarves for their 20 years of respective service to Trinity College School. We thanked Canon Don Aitchison, Josh Hamilton (faculty), Barbara Brough (faculty), Rhiannon Heffernan (culinary services), Christine Hoskin-Bailey (culinary services) and Christine Burns (finance office) for their contributions to the School.

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Thursday, November 07, 2019

Sure, you are clear about why your family chose Trinity College School. But have you ever wondered how other families found their way to the School?  

I’ll lend you some insight, but first, I thought I would share some interesting independent school enrolment trends from the U.S., Great Britain and TCS. In U.S. independent schools, there has been a massive 14% decline in enrolment (accounting for over 1 million students) in the last 15 years. In Britain, the number of boarding students dropped to 70,000 at the turn of this century, compared to a high of 100,000 in the mid-1980s.

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